Shearwater - Animal Joy

Billed, as if setting out to raise critical eyebrows, as their “thrilling artistic rebirth”, Shearwater’s Sub Pop debut (their eighth on all labels since emerging sideways out of Okkervil River) breaks from the insular and atmospheric stylings of their most recent efforts. On an album which uses most of the same forces as previous ones, the core features aren’t new – typically melodic songs still centre on Jonathan Meiburg’s powerful tenor – but are used to represent a slight shift of focus towards more direct songs whose sweeping pastoral arrangements build up gradually.

Opener ‘Animal Life’ is a straightforward archetype. Its skeletal guitar opening is fleshed out by a textural widening of strings and measured percussion parts, which take the song through steady steps towards euphoria. Frequently, the arrangements admit of genuine nuance, subtly incorporating unimposing celeste, woodwind and harp motifs around a core of guitars and keyboards.

The immediacy which Meiburg and co. have introduced is likely to catch the ears of a broader audience, particularly those casual listeners left cool by their relatively elusive early work. Whilst their transitional album isn’t all that likely to leave behind a more transcendent joy, these tunes have the potential to be hummed for weeks afterwards.



out of 10

We need your help

Running a website like The Digital Fix - especially one with over 20 years of content and an active community - costs lots of money and we need your help. As advertising income for independent sites continues to contract we are looking at other ways of supporting the site hosting and paying for content.

You can help us by using the links on The Digital Fix to buy your films, games and music and we ask that you try to avoid blocking our ads if you can. You can also help directly for just a few pennies per day via our Patreon - and you can even pay to have ads removed from the site entirely.

Click here to find out more about our Patreon and how you can help us.

Did you enjoy the article above? If so please help us by sharing it to your social networks with the buttons below...

Category Review

Latest Articles